With the monsoon less than two months away, BMC chief Ajoy Mehta has asked ward officers and other departments to come up with a plan to tackle the issue of dilapidated buildings in Mumbai.
Mehta has ordered the legal department, and assistant municipal commissioners of all 24 wards not to ignore dilapidated buildings, the demolition or repair of which have been stayed by court orders. He has asked them to file affidavits explaining the status of the buildings to the court, explaining how residing in such structures is a threat to residents.
Every year, the BMC surveys dilapidated buildings and issues notices to their residents, but it has not been very successful in taking any concrete action about their demolition, after issuing the notices.
The BMC has also been finding it difficult to vacate the dilapidated buildings, and work orders issued by civic officials for taking action against these buildings have often lapsed. In the new list it draws up before the monsoon, the BMC wants to include dilapidated buildings that have managed to get their demolition stayed.
In his first meeting last Tuesday, Mehta had warned ward officials they would be held responsible if there were any mishaps involving dilapidated buildings. He also asked the officials not to ignore dilapidated buildings for which the Court has given stay orders. If structural auditors have pointed out any major issues, the same should be conveyed to the court through affidavits, he said.
Civic sources say they find it difficult to evacuate residents from dilapidated buildings, and often they aren’t even allowed to conduct propping work. They added that police officers are often unavailable when they want to conduct forceful evacuations.
A civic officer said, on request of anonymity, “We have been issuing notices for repairs and evacuation to all buildings that are structurally unfit, but the problems still persists. Recently, in the E-ward, work orders issued to the contractors for propping work lapsed. Since we have taken all the precautions, we should not be blamed for negligence later.”
Vishvas Shankarwar, assistant municipal commissioner, estate department, said, “In the monsoon review meeting, the commissioner asked us not to ignore buildings for which the court has granted a stay. The ward officers should coordinate with the legal department to issue affidavits that will be filed in court, informing them about the status of the buildings.”
Mehta was not available for comment.
‘Tried to take action, won’t take blame’
* Because of resistance from the residents of Mazgaon Tadwadi and Kamathipura, work orders issued for propping work lapsed recently. The structural auditor had recommended propping for buildings AA1, BB1, C, D, E and F at Siddharth Nagar, Kamathipura, building 1 at BIT Chawl, and building 11 in Tadwadi Mazgaon, to keep them stable.
* The BMC, however, claimed the work could not be done because the tenants of these buildings raised strong objection
* The civic body now says it will not be responsible for any mishap, or take blame for negligence, if these buildings collapse.